CCB Vs. Connection Power (Part 1)

We recently switched from Church Community Builder to Connection Power for our Church Management system. We probably should have researched Fellowship One a little more, but for our budget (or lack thereof), Connection Power was the clear choice. We were getting serious complaints from our Admin Team about the quirkiness and bad graphic interface of CCB, so we started looking at other options. Long story short, we landed on Connection Power and we were pretty excited about switching over. Here’s a couple stories that might help you in your decision to start using or switching Church Management Software.

1. It has a very large impact on Staff. It sounds like a simple thing – just transfer some data and boom – you’re good to go. But in reality with our church size of 500+ (about 1200 in our database), we really should have planned better for the switchover. I’m thinking that we should have budgeted about 4-6 weeks of staff time to really learn the software and implement it into how they administrate their ministries and groups. CMS is great for getting true data, stats, and quick communication – but only if it is setup correctly, which takes time to learn and to do. So think about that and plan time for your staff to handle the learning curve – or else they won’t buy into it and it will be a wasted resource.

2. (click on images for full size) I’m not happy at all with Connection Power’s online giving interface. It’s very complex, and that’s good for data collection, but horrible for the user. ccb.jpg
When we had CCB, they required only that we have our own merchant account and then they created a page for us that looked like this:

It was simple and easy to complete – very comprehensive.

When we switched over to Connection Power, we realized that their Online Giving functionality is much more complex. But the interface is downright frustrating – especially if you are not internet/computer savvy. It’s really hard to navigate – you have to really look for what you want. Here’s an example: cp.jpg But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that using Connection Power’s giving module, you actually have to be a “member” of the online community and have been “invited”. Well, that doesn’t work for us – we want that giving page to be as easy as possible to navigate, and as easy as possible to enter your info and click “give”. So thumbs down to Connection Power for that one.

We are planning on creating our own online giving page that is attached directly to our merchant account. I called their tech support and complained and they were very gracious and welcomed my feedback. Kudos.

24 thoughts on “CCB Vs. Connection Power (Part 1)

  1. Brett Anderson

    We’re currently considering CP. We’ve been long time Shelby customers but we’re re-evaluating everything and need something a lot more user-friendly. Are you saying you can’t give online unless you’re already in the database system?

  2. alex

    Brett – That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying (and that’s what tech support said as well). Not cool.

  3. John Woolsey

    I am curious to see what else you have to say about the two. I have been participating in beta testing for CCB on their new version, you wouldn’t recognize it anymore. None of these systems manage serving teams the way we need it to, doesn’t look like they are improving it with this version either.

  4. Steve Caton

    Sorry to hear that we lost you guys. We retain almost 90% of our customers every year but it still pains me to see anyone leave. That said, we have made huge strides with our UI as John Woolsey mentions. We are still in Beta so more changes and enhancements are being made daily as our Beta Testers reveal new issues and areas for improvement. For those who would like to take a look at the new CCB “2.0” release, go to our website and request a Video Tour. We will send you a link to an 11 minute video clip that highlights the vision of CCB and the benefits of the new system. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Alex. It’s how we learn and improve.

    Steve Caton
    Vice President, Sales and Marketing
    Church Community Builder, Inc

  5. dean

    We are just starting to research CCB for our new church of about 200 (1000 in the next 2 years). What I already despise about CCB is that they don’t put their prices anywhere. Everything is about “call us” – sales pitch – and no real information on their website. A real turn off. Who is this company, anyway? No address, no names, etc.

  6. Steve Caton

    Wow Dean, you already “despise” CCB? That’s strong! Hope you were just having a bad day.

    I agree with you about the website needing background information on our company. Check back for that in the next two-three weeks. We are already working on it.

    As far as pricing is concerned, our pricing is based on product version, size of ministry and a few other factors related to training, implementation and conversion so it is not practical to list the entire menu on our site. Furthermore, we believe that the ChMS decision should be based on benefit and value, not just price. Does the solution meet your needs? Does it empower your strategies to reach and retain more people for the Kingdom? Those should be the primary decision criteria. Price matters too but if it is the sole criteria, CCB is probably not the right choice even though our pricing is very competitive.

    Steve Caton

  7. dean

    So far, yea, I’d have to say “despise” as in “To regard as unworthy of one’s interest”.

    I agree, price is not the sole criteria. As I am sure you are already aware, I also sent your company an email with some of my other “unanswered” questions after spending a good amount of time trying to find them on your website. No one has replied to that yet.

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t still consider your services, but at this time I am skeptical due to your marketing practices.

  8. dean

    Update – since posting my notes here, steve contacted me and we are now in communications with CCB about their services. The “No one has replied to that yet” was apparently caused by their over zealous spam filtering software that didn’t like my “www.com” in my email address.

    We have not made a decision yet, but at least I have been able to get all of my questions answered.

    Does anyone know of a website where more of the technical aspects of Church Management Software are reviewed side by side and up to date?

  9. alex

    Dean – I suggest you get in contact with John Woolsey from Impact Church. He’s pretty knowledgeable with CCB and has been using it for a couple years now. Here’s his blog: http://johnwoolsey.net/

  10. Steve Caton

    Dean, thanks for giving us the opportunity to correct the early miscommunication and help you learn more about CCB. You may already know about this resource but Christian Computing Magazine has a page on their site where they compare several Church Management solutions side-by-side. Here is the link.

    http://www.digical.com/cgi-bin/htmlos.cgi/ccmag/index1.htm

    Cheers!

    Steve C.

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  12. Dominic Silla

    Sorry for the delay in response. Just found this blog and think it is great. Let me begin by stating that as the VP of Sales for Connectionpower.com I have the greatest respect for CCB and the product that they have created. From what I understand, they are in the same business that we are in – Kingdom building for His glory! As this is a blog and will do my best just to respond to questions or clarify issues where our product is concerned let me weigh in on the online giving splash page issue. For churches that subscribe to CP PowerGiving we do ask that they select from one of three Merchant Accounts that we have built back-end gateways out to. (We have selected three of the biggest Merchant Account service providers so it is usually not that big of a deal). Once this is done, the church can then begin accepting three different types of payments: 1. Member logged in giving 2. “Friends of the Church” giving 3. Event registration payments. I believe the 2nd. type of giving is what was discussed here. Depending on the Merchant Account that is selected a Splash page can be set up so that anyone that visits the web site and wants to give can by simply filling in an information page including the payment information. This is very similar to creating a “Pay-pal” link from your site except it goes through the same Merchant Account as does the other types of payments. There are many other advantages to having people give via logged in section and if you are interested I can expand. Thanks again for creating this blog and the opportunity to comment.

    Respectfully,
    Dominic Silla
    VP of Sales ConnectionPower.com

  13. alex

    Dominic, thanks for the comment! I’m going to do a more recent update of our experience with Connection Power, which has been more positive, thanks you some recent communications we’ve been having. Give me a couple weeks…

  14. Liza

    My fellow on Orkut shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed that I came here.

  15. Alan

    Saw your blog about Connection Power over a year ago. Our church is about to take the church management software plunge and we’re considering Connection Power or CCB. Just curious if you have any additional insights to share.

    Alan

  16. Paul

    We’ve been using Connection Power for about 2 years now and have been fairly pleased. Buggy areas have cropped up in the Kiosk software, which CP has quickly remedied. Tech Support is great.

    The only area we’re stuck on right now is the assimilation program. We’re trying to fit how our Deacon board wants to operate into how the PowerCare module works. It’s not a perfect fit. The biggest problem has been the inability to have precise control over the scheduling of calls. PowerCare let’s you set a frequency, but it decides when to schedule the calls. My Deacons have a simple model – call all famlies on their list once a month. They want to make the calls anytime in the month, and write down their results whenever they want. PowerCare schedules spreads out calls for each family throughout the call frequency, then gives you a set number of days before it goes into a skipped call status.

    It’s a great process to provide tight control, especially if you have a large number of ConnectionParterns (a.k.a. deacons) and large congregation. It’s not the best for a small number of deacons who just want to record call results when they want too.

    PowerVisitor works in a similar fashion, but here, it fits much better into our Visitor connection team since the calls MUST be made within a day or two of their Sunday visit and accountability on followup is extremely important. We love this module. Pays for itself in Kingdom dollars.

    We haven’t signed up for PowerGiving yet, but are considering it. Right now, we just use direct bank EFT and PayPal, which we only recently started.

  17. Camnio Media

    Our church is currently using Connection Power, unfortunately we haven’t used it to the fullest of its capabilities.

  18. Reggie

    Does anyone know where you can get an example of a Chart of Accounts for a large church using Fund Accounting methodology? If I go to PowerGiving you have to use Quickbooks for Non-profits and I will need to set up a set of Chart of Accounts that will rollup reports (at least to a reasonable level) for all chart of accounts for each of my 30 funds.

  19. Troy

    I am considering Parent Pager for child/student check-in and check-out. Can anyone give me insight on the quality of Connection Power or CCB’s version?

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